In his post Google’s ‘Gold Standard’ Search Results Take Big Hit in New York Times Story on SearchEngineLand.com, Danny Sullivan writes about an article in the New York Times about a merchant with an unusual marketing strategy. DecorMyEyes, an online shop selling eyewear (glasses and sunglasses) and the merchant in the NYT story, generates attention and traffic to their website by treating customers badly.
Bad Experience, Good Results
Customers treated rudely, hassled by email and phone calls post about their bad experience with DecorMyEyes on the Internet. This contents is picked up by Google resulting in a better ranking for DecorMyEyes in Google’s search results. And more traffic to the DecorMyEyes website.
Danny Sullivan thinks this problem can be solved by taking into account these reviews when calculating ranking. Google should not reward a merchant with bad reviews with a top ranking, is Danny’s idea.
The Good and The Bad
Using reviews to calculate how high you position in Google Search is not a good idea. There is no way Google is able to use reviews to calculate objective and reliable search results. Because reviews is an unreliable source of information.
- People are more likely to post negative experiences than positive ones. Therefore there is a big chance the negative reviews will always outnumber the positive ones.
- Google is not able to know about the sentiments of people that are not posting about their experiences.
- Are people that post negative about a product or company always right? How is Google able to say?
- Is 10 negative reviews bad if they represent 1 percent or less of the total number of customers or transactions?
- Companies/people will always be able to tamper with reviews. Making reviews an even more unreliable source of information.
And what are the legal consequences of no longer ranking companies because the are not reliable according to Google?
We Need Change
There is no way Google will ever be able to guarantee reliable search results. As they also will never be able to guarantee you the most relevant results. At least not the way search is organized nowadays.
DecorMyEyes is another example of why search engines as we know them today do not work. There is just too much information available out there.
To really benefit from the world wide web (and all the information that is available there) we need new ways to find exactly just that piece of information that we are looking for. And I don’t know how we are going to do that. I only know it will not be easy.